European Compostnetwork ECN



Reforming Single Market for Fertilising Products

EP IMCO Workshop

On 12 October 2016 the Committee for Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and the Policy Department of the European Parliament organised the first stakeholder conference on the new proposal for a ‘Fertilising Product Regulation’.

imco_workshopThe workshop was chaired by the rapporteur MEP Adam Szejnfeld (EPP, PL). Besides several members of the European Parliament more than 80 external participants followed the discussion. The European Compost Network was actively involved in the round table discussion and used the opportunity to present its position on the new fertilisers proposals.

Please find the ECN position paper on the proposal for a Fertilising Product Regulation: here.

The ECN presentation is available for download here.

If you missed to follow the debate, you can access all documents and also the webstream on the IMCO’s website.

The debate will be followed up in the responsible Committees of the European Parliament in the next months. The draft report of IMCO is announced for the 6 December and the final vote in the IMCO is scheduled on 11 May 2017.


Commission’s work programme 2017 published

EU Commission

Under the title ‘Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends’ the European Commission has published its work programme 2017 on 25 October 2016.

With regard to Circular Economy the Commission will focus on the implementation of the Action Plan by setting up the following new initiatives:

  • Strategy on plastic use,ec_work-programm2017-1
  • Proposal for a Regulation on minimum quality requirements for reused water,
  • REFIT revision of the Drinking Water Directive,
  • Initiative to address legal, technical or practical bottlenecks at the interface of chemical, product and waste legislation, and
  • Monitoring framework for the circular economy.

Please find the Commissions work programme and its annexes here.
(EC Communication, Annex I: New Initiatives, Annex II: REFIT Inititatives, Annex III: Priority pending proposals, Annex IV: Withdrawals, Annex V: Repeals).


EP ENVI Committee: Consideration of amendments

EU Circular Economy

During the meeting of the ENVI Committee on 29 September 2016, the Rapporteur, most of the shadow rapporteurs as well as some other MEPs took the opportunity to highlight a few general areas on which they had tabled amendments or wanted to provide their views.

With regard to Article 22 'Biowaste', MEP Bonafè briefly noted the amendments tabled on the removal of the conditionalities 'where technically, environmentally and economically practicable' (TEEP) and setting a bio-waste recycling-target. MEP Demesmaeker and MEP Jávor expressed support for the separate collection of bio-waste, with MEP Jávor explicitly calling for mandatory recycling targets for the bio-waste stream. MEP Pedicini called for an organic collection target by 2020.
Several MEPs referenced the recent developments in the Council, and MEP Bonafè stated that the parliament should therefore stand firm against these efforts to lower the ambition of the package. There was no official decision made to delay the 7 November vote.

For ECN members a summary of the meeting is available in the internal part of the ECN website (TG_Circular Economy).


GORC Abstract Book

GORC took place in Dublin, Ireland in May 2016. It brought together stakeholders to discuss the latest commercial and technical developments, challenges and future circular bioeconomy opportunities in the biological treatment of organic resources and the sustainable use of its products.

In total there were 18 interesting presentations given. Here are just a few examples for the speeches from a wide range of topics:


  • Henrik Lystad, Chairman, European Compost Network: An Anaerobic Digestion/Compost Plant Operator in the Year 2050
  • Eric Liégeois, European Commission: EU Fertiliser Regulations
  • Dr Jane Gilbert, Carbon Clarity, UK and Vice Chair of the ISWA Working Group on Biological Treatment: Carbon, Nutrients and Soil


The congress book is available for download here.


Proposal for an EU Regulation on GHG Emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)

New draft regulation

The EU Commission  presented a package of measures to accelerate the shift to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe. The global low-carbon transition is already underway and gaining momentum, following the adoption of the first universal climate change agreement last December.

In 2014, EU leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. Today's proposals present binding greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States from 2021-2030 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste and land use and forestry sectors. These national targets contribute to the overall EU target.

The new framework also takes into account changes in the soil organic matter pool. Under Article 5(4) it is pointed out that 'Member states shall include in their accounts for each land accounting category any change in the carbon stock of the carbon pools'.

More information about LULUCF and the full legislative proposal is available here.


First Edition of ECN NEWS 2016 published in NEW design

The  first edition of the ECN NEWS in 2016 with our new corporate design is published. Our new logo was launched at the annual meeting in May, with the aim of complementing our ongoing policy and advocacy work.

The original ‘spider’s web’ logo has been in use ever since ECN was launched in 2002, and was looking somewhat tired and out-of-date. ECN’s board agreed that a newer, fresher look was required to help represent our ongoing activities: after much debate, our new logo was agreed.

The ‘leaf’ motif represents organic growth and networking – a reflection of differing opinions and points of view. The green colour symbolises the organic nature of our sector, reflecting all that is good about bio-waste, whilst the purple colour has been selected to represent innovation within the green economy. Together they provide a fresh and distinctive look for ECN. Our website and documents will be updated to incorporate the new logo before the end of the year.

The ECN NEWS No. 01/2016 can be downloaded here and reports about the following topics:

  • EU Policy
  • Publications
  • News from ECN
  • Country Reports
  • Events

We hope you like it!


CIC – Annual Report 2016 now available

CIC_2016CIC (Italian Compost and Biogas Association) has published its Annual Report 2016 with the title:

"State of art composting and anaerobic digestion in Italy"





The brochure is available for download here.


MEP Simona Bonafè published report on waste legislative proposal

On 2 June 2016 the European Parliament rapporteur for the EU Circular Economy Package, Simona Bonafè, published the draft report on the waste legislative proposal. 

As expected from Parliament’s reserved initial response to the Commission’s publication of the package and her specific comments about its lack of ambition, Ms Bonafè is proposing among others to increase the recycling target for municipal waste by 5% over the Commission’s suggested 65% by 2030; to separately collect wood, textiles and bio-waste in addition to paper, metals, plastics and glass, and not to allow these separately collected waste streams to be incinerated.

eu_parlamentWith regard to bio-waste Ms Bonafè is asking that separate collection of bio-waste from municipal waste should be made obligatory and a recycling target should be laid down for bio-waste from municipal waste to attract infrastructure investments towards recycling facilities for bio-waste and to boost markets form compost and digestate’.

By setting concrete time lines, like the implementation of separate collection of bio-waste by 2020 and achieving a minimum recycling target for bio-waste from municipal waste of 65 % by 2025,  and including a definition for ‘organic recycling’,  Member States are guided to improve biological waste management in the next years.

ECN welcomes the draft report with the specific amendments for bio-waste. We will follow-up the discussion with the Members of the European Parliament in the next weeks. Until 23 June 2016 MEPs’ have time to give their comments.

Please find the ECN position paper: ‘Focus: closing the loop - a waste policy revision’ available for download here.


Biowaste generates jobs

factsheet_jobsIn respect to the Circular Economy package, ECN set up a fact sheet on job creation through biowaste.

Taking the amount of potential biowaste from municipal waste of 64 Mt into account, would create up to 50.000 direct jobs in the biowaste sector.



The factsheet is available for download here.




Focussing on the ‘Circular Economy and Organic Waste Management’, it is the tenth biennial conference on Organic Resources and Biological Waste Treatment, signalling 20 years of excellence in scientific research and professional networking.

The ORBIT2016 in Crete starts with a Welcome Drink on Tuesday night, 24 May at 19:00 in the Port of Chersonissos.

The final programme is available here.

For further information, please visit the website


GORC 2016

Global Organic Resources Congress, 3 - 4 of May 2016, Dublin, Ireland

From left to right: Henrik Lystad, Eric Liégeois (European Commission), Tony Breton (Novamont), Martin Eves (Chairman of Cré) and Massimo Centemero (CIC - Italian Composting and Biogas Association)

From left to right: Henrik Lystad, Eric Liégeois (European Commission), Tony Breton (Novamont), Martin Eves (Chairman of Cré) and Massimo Centemero (CIC - Italian Composting and Biogas Association) Foto Copyright: Cré 2016, Nick Bradshaw

Held on the 3-4 May in Dublin, the Global Organic Resources Congress (GORC) brought together delegates from 23 different countries to discuss the latest developments, challenges and future circular bioeconomy opportunities for the organics recycling sector. It was organised by Cré and the European Compost Network, and was the fourth international conference of its kind held in Ireland.

Please watch the video message of Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development here:


or download a HD MP4-file here:






ICAW (International Compost Awareness Week)

icaw-posterThe Composting Councils of Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom  have declared the first week of May to be annual International Composting Awareness Week (ICAW).

ICAW is a publicity and education initative to showcase compost production and demonstrate compost use.  This year’s theme, Compost—the Soil and Water Connection, was selected to highlight the importance of compost in clean, plentiful water and healthy soil.

Please watch the Video-messages from:


on YouTube.

Website ICAW


Organics Recycling and the Return of Compost to Soils Delivers Fundamental Solution to Climate Change, Food Security and Resource Management around the World, declares international network of organics recycling advocates

icawEuropean Compost Network,
Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland,
Australian Organics Recycling Association,
The Compost Council of Canada
and the US Composting Council
join in common voice during
International Compost Awareness Week 2016
to encourage the recycling of organic residuals and compost use
for improved soil health and climate change mitigation

Recycling organic residuals instead of throwing them in the garbage is the first step to capturing the full potential that these under-recognized resources can play to address a wide range of current global environmental issues. And on the occasion of International Compost Awareness Week 2016 (May 1 - 7), a global network of organizations, devoted to organics recycling and compost use, are combining their efforts to bring attention to the multiple benefits to be realized when organic residuals are viewed as resources rather than waste. read more....


A unique opportunity to use the untapped potential of biowaste

ECN Position Paper on EU Circular Economy

The European Compost Network (ECN) welcomes the legislative proposals presented in the ‘Circular Economy Package’, released by the European Commission on 2 December 2015, as a key milestone for resource efficiency and the achievement of a truly circular economy in Europe.

circular_economyECN generally agrees with the ambitions set out in the proposal. In particular, we welcome Article 22, which emphasizes the need for separate collection and recycling of biowaste. Biowaste comprises of up to 50% of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in Member States: separate collection and recycling of biowaste is crucial to meet the overall MSW recycling rates specified in Article 11(2).

The proposals for amendments to the Waste Framework and the Landfill Directives will in our view contribute to better sorting and recycling of biowaste. However, the following aspects should be considered carefully by co-legislators, in order to reap the full benefits of biowaste recycling:

  • The limitations introduced in the provisions on the separate collection and recycling of biowaste should be removed, to ensure that the separate collection and recycling remains the rule.
  • A specific recycling target of 65% by 2025 should be introduced for biowaste, along with a residual waste minimization target and appropriate incentives.
  • A separate collection target should be introduced for biowaste from industries.
  • Waste codes should be introduced for biowaste.
  • A separate collection target should be introduced for biowaste from industries.
  • Waste codes should be introduced for biowaste.

The corresponding document is available here.


ECN Annual Meeting 2016 at GORC 2016

In advance of the GORC 2016 conference (Dublin, Ireland) organised by Cré in partnership with the European Compost Network, the ECN Annual Meeting 2016 will take place. The meeting is scheduled on the 2 May from 15:00h to 18:00h and is located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Dublin Airport.

On the 4 May in the same location, the Joint Task Group meeting on Quality Assurance, Growing Media and Fertiliser, takes place from 09:00h-12:30h.

Deadline for Registration: 22 April 2016.


GORC 2016 (3-4 May 2016)

GORC will bring together stakeholders to discuss the latest commercial and technical developments, challenges and future circular bioeconomy opportunities in the biological treatment of organic resources and the sustainable use of its products. The GORC programme boasts high profile speakers and highly topical presentations with ample Q&A sessions and networking opportunities.
The latest speaker confirmed is Eric Liégeois of DG GROW, European Commission who will speak on the recently published draft EU Fertiliser Regulations.

The full programme is available here.


Presentation of conference on separate collection in Europe available


On January 29, Municipal Waste Europe together with EUROCITIES and the European Commission organised the conference "Separate Waste Collection in the Context of a Circular Economy in Europe". After a general part on Circular Economy policy with speakers from the EU Commission (Kestutis Sadauskas, Director Green Economy Directorate, DG ENV, and Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment and Fisheries) the Commission study ‘Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU’ was presented. Examples for separate collection in small, medium and large towns were given in the next part, followed by an interesting debate on implementation of separate collection.


As part of the conference a brochure was presented with the key results of the benchmarking study on the separate waste collection systems in small cities and towns across Europe. The brochure includes infographics, piecharts and tables depicting the statistical data collected from members participating in the study.

The brochure can be downloaded here.

The presentations from all speakers are available for download here.


ECN Policy Officer: Promoting separate collection of biowaste to boost European Circular Economy

ECN Job Vacancy

We are looking for a consultant or self-employed contractor, based in Brussels, to support ECN’s European policy work to foster separate collection of biowaste in the European Circular Economy for Europe.

The European Compost Network ( is the leading European membership organisation promoting sustainable recycling practices in composting, anaerobic digestion and other biological treatment processes of organic resources.

ECN wishes to establish a permanent presence in Brussels, such as to strengthen its advocacy activities at European institutions. To lead this, ECN is looking for an EU policy officer on a part time basis.

The full job advertisement is available here.

If you are interested, please send an application including your CV to

Deadline for applications is 12 February 2016.


Implementation of Separate Collection of Biowaste will contribute to Europe’s Circular Economy

Response by First Vice-President

On 18 January 2016, the European Compost Network ECN received the response by Europe’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on its letter to strengthen separate collection of biowaste in the new proposed Circular Economy Package.

poster_circleThe First Vice-President Timmermans outlined in his letter that with the proposal to amend Article 22 of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC Member States have to ensure separate collection of biowaste, where technically, environmentally and economically practicable, biowaste will contribute to achieve a more circular economy in Europe. Besides this, the Commission has announced to provide common EU standards for organic fertilisers from compost and digestate to facilitate the use of biowaste in the EU by revising the EU regulation on fertilisers. The European Compost Network will follow up the discussion with the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament in the next month.

The response of the First Vice-President is available here.


Report on separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU published

EU Commission - DG ENV

The European Commission has assigned BiPRO GmbH to elaborate in cooperation with the Copenhagen Research Institute (CRI) the implementation of separate collection schemes in EU Member States with focus on EU capital cities, as of 2015 Member States are obliged to separately collect paper, glass, metal and plastic with a view to foster high quality recycling of these materials.

final_report_28Now, the study ‘Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU’ has been published, and is available for download here:

Besides the final report, 28 country and 28 capital factsheets including more detailed information on country / capital level can be accessed here:

The study on separate collection in capital cities will be presented at the conference ‘Separate collection in the Context of a Circular Economy in Europe’ organised by Municipal Waste Europe, EUROCITIES and the European Commission on Friday 29 January 2016 in Brussels. The progamme is available here.


GORC 2016

Global Organic Resources Congress
3 - 4 of May 2016, Dublin, Ireland

more information



Biowaste at Heart of Europe’s Recycled Circular Economy Package

EU Policy

A year has passed since the European Commission’s first vice president, Frans Timmermans, called a halt to the Commission’s Roadmap to a Circular Economy; a decision that caught many in the waste industry by surprise. The new package, published on 2 December, sets out a revised and ‘more ambitious’ proposal, including the provision for the separate collection of biowaste.

The new Circular Economy Package is claimed to ‘boost competitiveness, create jobs and generate sustainable growth’. Revisions to the Waste Framework Directive, Landfill, Packaging and Batteries Directives have been proposed, which collectively will increase recycling and reduce waste sent to landfill.

New targets

Overall the package sets out new targets for recycling and landfilling waste, including:

  • A common EU target for recycling municipal waste of 65% by 2030;.
  • A common EU target for recycling packaging waste of 75% by 2030;.
  • Material-specific targets for different packaging materials; and.
  • A binding landfill reducon target of 10% by 2030.

These are accompanied by measures to simplify and harmonise definitions and calculation methods, as well as creating incentives through Horizon 2020 and structural funds.

Separate Bio-Waste Collections

For many years ECN has lobbied for the inclusion of bio-waste targets in the revised package, so it is with some relief that Arcle 22 in the Waste Framework Direcve will be revised to specify that: 'Member States shall ensure the separate collecon of biowaste where technically, environmentally and economically praccable and appropriate to ensure the relevant quality standards for compost and to aain the targets set out in’ the municipal waste recycling targets. Despite falling short of seng specific biowaste recycling targets, ECN’s Stefanie Siebert notes that: ‘This is a significant step forward for Europe. The requirement placed on all Member States to collect biowaste separately for both composting and anaerobic digestion will mean that even more organic carbon and plant nutrients will be recycled and put back onto Europe’s soils’. ECN’s Quality Assurance Scheme is set to play a major role in ensuring the recycling of quality compost and digestate to soils.

This provision is also accompanied by a change in the definition of biowaste, to increase its scope to include ‘waste with similar biodegradability properties that is comparable in nature, composition and quantity’. This is in addition to the existing definition which covers ‘biodegradable garden and park waste, food and kitchen waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises, comparable waste from food processing plants’.

Reducing food waste

Revisions to the Waste Framework Directive also requires Member States to halve food waste by 2030, in line with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable   Development.   In   aims to ‘prevent food waste in primary production, in processing and manufacturing, in retail and other distribution of food, in restaurants and food services as well as in households’. In addition, ‘Member States should establish specific food waste prevention measures and should measure progress in food waste reduction’.


It is unclear, at present, how these changes will affect potential quantities of bio-waste available for collection. Coupled with proposed revisions to the Fertiliser Regulation (see Fertilisers Regulation Update) which are expected to be finalised in 2016, the new package seems likely to boost quality composting and anaerobic digestion across the EU. ECN will provide further analysis and updates in the New Year.

The Circular Economy Package, including briefing notes and draft Directives, can be accessed: here



Fertilisers Regulation Update

EU Commission News

The EU Fertilisers Regulation has been under review for a number of years, with seemingly little progress. The publication in late October ofa ‘Roadmap’, signals the EU Commission’s desire to finalize changes during 2016.

The Roadmap sets out the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) plans for revising the Fertilisers Regulation (EC) No. 2003/2003. It is stated that the initiative will extend the scope to include secondary and organic resources and to facilitate the cross-border market for all fertiliser materials and secondary raw materials. These include:

  • Compost and digestate (based on the technical proposal for end-of waste criteria for compost and digestate published in the JRC report in 2014);
  • Biomass ash;
  • Struvite; and
  • Biochar.

These changes are in keeping with the Commission’s Circular Economy Package, noting that: ‘The Fertilisers Regulation revision aims at establishing a regulatory framework enabling production of fertilisers from recovered biowastes and other secondary raw materials. This would boost domestic sourcing of plant nutrients which are essential for a sustainable European agriculture, including the critical raw material phosphorus.’

Optional Harmonisation

At a meeting held on 27 November, the Commission discussed these revised proposals, although text of the revised Regulation was not made available. The Commission suggested following an ‘optional harmonisation’ approach, where producers of fertilisers may choose to follow the requirements of the Regulation and market their products as ‘EU Fertilisers’, or continue to market their products under national rules. In practice, this means that the two systems may operate in parallel. Notably only waste materials where end-of-waste criteria have   been established will be eligible as input materials.

The structure (architecture) of the revised proposals presented at the meeting indicated that different ‘component material categories’ (i.e. input materials) will be subjected to different safety requirements. For compost and waste-derived digestate, the input materials, processing methods and product quality will be subject to end-of-waste criteria based on the final proposals made by the JRC in 2014. Digestate derived from non-waste crops will be subjected to internal producer control through self-certification.

New Proposal in 2016

The text of the revised Regulation is currently with the Commission’s legal services. It is anticipated that there will be a further stakeholder consultation in 2016 before the final legislative proposal is sent to the Parliament and Council.

The Roadmap can be accessed: here


Carbon, Nutrients & Soil

ISWA Task Force Project

The value of carbon in compost and digestate is largely ignored, according to a recent report published by the International Solid Waste Association in November. The report, authored by ECN co-founder Dr Jane Gilbert, was one in a series of publications addressing resource management and the circular economy.

carbonThe project was carried out by the ISWA Task Force on Resource Management, who investigated the flows and consumption of secondary raw materials as part of a circular economy. In total, six reports have been published, each accompanied by a short video of the author describing their work. The package was officially launched at a seminar in Brussels on 3 November at the offices of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Report 4 focusses specifically on Carbon, Nutrients and Soil. It provides an overview of the potential quantities of organic wastes produced by OECD countries every year, then makes estimates of how much nitrogen and carbon they contain. It describes how they can be extracted, modified or transformed through biorefining/ biotechnology processes into a range of different products, including high value bio-based speciality chemicals, commodity chemicals and lower value compost/digestate.

Recognising the importance of soils and the continued loss of soil organic matter, the report stresses the need for the value of organic carbon in compost and digestate to be quantified. At present, only about 30% of the fertilizing potential in compost/digestate is realised in sales, whilst the benefits of carbon and the improvements they can make to soil are largely ignored.

The report concludes that in order to realise the untapped potential benefits of organic wastes in OECD countries, separate collection schemes need to be extended and contaminant removal improved. Organic waste processing to manufacture valuable bio-based products will require an improvement in skills and technical competencies,   coupled   with   effactive communications.

Copies of the reports can be accessed: here

The ECN Presentation on the Role of Biowaste in the Emerging Circular Economy can be downloaded: here


Bio-Nutrients and Organic Carbon Recycling are essential components of a Circular Economy

151123_BSAG_EBA_ECN_ESPP Jont position paper circular economy-001BSAG/EBA/ECN/ESPP Joint Statement

On 23 November representatives of the European Compost Network (ECN), the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG), the European Biogas Association (EBA) and the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) met the Vice-President of the European Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Mr Jyrki Katainen, to raise the importance of bio-nutrients and organic carbon recycling for a circular economy in Europe.

Bio-nutrients and organic carbon recycling is a core aspect in a circular economy with benefits for the environment and opportunities for innovation and job creation. The stakeholders stressed that a European Circular Economy Action Plan is crucial, and that an integrated European policy framework is essential to facilitate sustainable bio-nutrient and organic carbon recycling. As a follow-up action the four organisations signed a joint statement, which was sent to the Vice-President and to the Members of the European Parliament.

The BSAG-EBA-ECN-ESSP joint statement can be downloaded here.


Separate Collection and End-of-Waste Criteria for Biowaste – Essential to Drive forward Europe’s Circular Economy

ECN letter to EU Commission

Expecting the publication of the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the new proposal for the revision on waste legislation in December 2015 the European Compost Network took the chance to underline the importance of a new and more ambitious proposal for the biowaste sector by sending an open letter to the Vice-Presidents and Commissioners.

Based on the ECN position statement the letter is focussing on the resource potential of biowaste and the relevance of setting up a comprehensive product-waste policy in Europe. Legal drivers like the obligation to introduce separate collection of biowaste in all Member States and setting up European end-of-waste criteria for compost and digestate are needed for the development of a sustainable waste management Europe and achieving a Circular Economy in Europe. Besides the beneficial effects on resource management, the management of biowaste will have as well positive effects on job creation. With the expansion of separate collection and management of biowaste more than 30.000 jobs could be created, mainly locally, in Europe.

The ECN Letter to the Vice- Presidents and the Commissioners can be downloaded here.


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